A Bloody (NSFW) Beheading for Hanukkah

Detail of Gentileschi_Judith-Slaying-Holofernes

Detail of Artemisia Gentileschi, ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes,’ c. 1620, Uffizi

“Here’s the short version of the story. Apparently unaware of Jael’s successful strategy — detailed in Judges 4 — of lulling Sisera to sleep with a jug of milk and then pounding a tent peg through his temple, Holofernes invites Judith (Yehudit in Hebrew) into his tent one night while he is in one of his drunken stupors. That mistake costs him his head, which Judith brings back to the Jewish camp.

Although Holofernes gets decapitated in every telling of the story — whose canonical status is questionable in the Hebrew scriptures — artistic representations of the political assassination prior to the 17th century were relatively tame…”

Read the full Jewish Daily Forward article here.

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